During a press briefing Monday in Singapore, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured reporters who were present that talks between the North Korean and US delegations in Singapore have progressed “rapidly” ahead of the historic summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, with Pompeo adding that the talks were still taking place.
“Our ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim met today with [North Korean] Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui,” Pompeo told reporters at a press conference. “They are moving quite rapidly and we anticipate they will come to their logical conclusion even more quickly than we anticipated,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Washington Examiner reported that members of the US and North Korean delegations met for a few hours at the Ritz Carlton hotel to discuss the terms of denuclearization.
“North Korea has previously confirmed to us its willingness to denuclearize, and we are eager to see if its words prove sincere,” Pompeo said. He added that he is hopeful the summit “will have set the conditions for future productive talks” between Washington and Pyongyang.
The summit has provided “an unprecedented opportunity to change the trajectory of our relationship and bring peace and prosperity” to North Korea, Pompeo said. However, he played down the possibility of a quick breakthrough and added that the summit should set the framework for “the hard work that will follow.”
While reporters lobbed questions at Pompeo, he declined to provide any details about what Trump might offer Kim during their meeting – though he said the “US is prepared to take actions that will provide North Korea with sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearization doesn’t end badly for them.”
He also emphasized that the negotiations would NOT be conducted in the open “with the media.”
“We are not going to conduct these negotiations in the open with the media,” Pompeo said, before adding that “unique steps can be taken” to satisfy the Kim regime without providing sanctions relief.
“The ultimate objective we seek from diplomacy with North Korea has not changed,” Pompeo said, adding that “complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korea peninsula is the only outcome that the United States will accept.”
In parting, he made it very clear that US sanctions will remain in place as long as the North hasn’t denuclearized completely, and that if talks don’t move in the right direction, the sanctions “will increase.”
Watch Pompeo’s full briefing below:
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